The Last Word on "Vanilla Face"
Swear to God, this is the last time we mention Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan on the blog; swearswearswear. But we could not resist this one. You shall see why.
Already twice we've told you that "Vanilla Face" is David Davis, the Adolphus Hotel's director of public relations. We told you how "mortified" he is at being in the movie; how he got taken by the production company, which said it was shooting a travel doc; how he can't wait for the damned movie to go away. (Hey, at least he isn't suing like everyone else in the movie.) Well, apparently we got only the surface of the surface of the surface of the story. (If you don't know what we're talking about, go here for the clip featuring Davis. We'll wait.)
A Friend of Unfair Park tipped us off to the fact that a couple of days ago, writer and Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias posted to his Web site an incredibly detailed recounting from Davis about how he wound up in Borat. Tobias is friends with Davis, and Tobias' site contains e-mails to and from Davis, who's been incredibly reluctant to talk to local media about his experience. In fact, he asked both The Dallas Morning News' Chris Vognar and me to keep private something that appears on the Web site. Chief among the revelations:
Davis says he's famous, in the worst possible way: "People stare at me on the DART light rail and wonder where they've seen me. (I've been in movie trailers all summer long.) Friends all over the country - and abroad! — have e-mailed and called me. Of course, the reaction is: OH MY GOSH, I KNOW THAT GUY! THAT'S DAVID DAVIS FROM THE ADOLPHUS! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HE DOING IN THIS FILM? Friends in Hollywood have said, "When did you start acting?" I was recently introduced to Michael Sheen (he plays Tony Blair in THE QUEEN) as a fellow thespian. His face lit up as though I were truly a legitimate actor. I could've have crawled under the carpet and died."
Davis' father died shortly before the Borat crew showed up: "I wasn't keen on doing it myself, since my dad had died recently and my family was experiencing those horrible firsts: the first Father's Day without him, his birthday, etc. In short, I wasn't my usual perky self. After interviewing everyone, the location scout came back to me and said, "You're the one that we want." I turned them down, and, then, they came back, again — and I felt guilty that I wasn't doing my job. I agreed to do it on a Sunday night."
Davis received a letter from a location scout explaining why they wanted to shoot at the Adolphus, which reads, in part: "In Dallas, we see the 'New America,' where sophistication, patience and Southern hospitality are a complete package. Each of the above cities is unique in its own way, but they have one thing in common: success." Yes, great success.
This is how Davis discovered he'd been duped: "The next day we pulled the security camera tapes to see what was going on outside and discovered that they had a production crew setting up Borat's 'grand entrance.' That's when we knew absolutely that we had been set up. I also called a friend at the Dallas Film Commission and she told me that she was certain that this had some connection to a man who had been spotted driving around Dallas in an ice-cream truck with a bear in the back of it."
I think we've said it before: David Davis is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Think we'll say it again. Still, it coulda been SO MUCH WORSE. And don't think he doesn't know it. --Robert Wilonsky